Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Losing Santa

We lost Santa yesterday evening, driving between the karate school and picking up Lefty.

The Kid had been asking questions for a couple of weeks. His advancing understanding of the laws of physics (thank you, gravity) had him debunking the flying reindeer and sleigh but I sensed a real desire in him to keep believing so I hemmed and hawed my way through most of his questions, answering a lot of them with, "What do you think?"

But yesterday, as we were walking into karate class, he asked the question, point-blank. We agreed to talk about it after class and off my boy skipped, to punch and kick for 45 minutes.

Secretly, I hoped he would forget.

He didn't. As soon as class was over, he came running up to me and said, "Now can we talk about my question?"

So, as we drove past the christmas lights in the early dark, I talked about the spirit of giving and hope and miracles and love and I answered his point-blank question with the grown up truth.

He cried a little. I cried a little. I reached into the back seat and we held hands for a few blocks.

It is a hard thing for both of us, to let go of this little symbol of his early childhood, his little kid-ness.

He rallied and we continued on with our evening. Homework was done. Dinner was prepared and eaten and that moment in the dark car began to recede.

It is a moment I hope I will always remember, how we held hands and stepped into the future, into his growing up, together.


  1. I expect that question any day now. I am so pleased to have a wonderful example to reflect upon as I formulate my answer.

  2. Ah, thanks you guys!

    I'd been expecting the question but, damn, it was a terribly hard conversation to have.

    Prof. J - It's sleeting in my backyard !

  3. Sniff. I remember this day too...with my daughter (2nd children don't even have a chance). Beautiful post.

  4. And, yet, there's still the magic of the season, and the twinkly lights are real! :)

    I feel bad that I don't really remember when my kids "found out" about Santa. I think it was a gradual realization.

    I do remember when Owen believed that elves and fairies lived in our woods, and the walks we would take looking for their homes.

    I loved this post for what it showed about your relationship, the trust and love. :)

  5. The downside of having smart kids!

  6. Awww...this is so sweet...and oh so sad. I like the way you handled it--you're such a good mom!

  7. Oh how I have been expecting this and surprisingly enough...we haven't yet. My 10-year-old is the only "half foreigner" in his school and so, as there is no one to tell him definitely that "there is no Santa", I'm thinking there is still a bit of "maybe...just maybe" left in him. He actually asked me about it a few years ago, in the "how can he see everything" line of fire....I told him that "Santa lives in all of us...in our hearts...all the time". That seemed to work for awhile. I'm working on the idea that as long as I believe, they will, too!!
    Your boy is such a sweetie...how lucky he is to have such a warm and caring momma!!

  8. The Kid is still in mourning and a mention of Santa will sometimes bring tears to his eyes. Perhaps I should have worked harder at perpetuating the myth...